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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Gertrude
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2188  Sunday, 3 November 2002

[1]     From:   Claude Caspar <
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        Date:   Thursday, 31 Oct 2002 12:45:16 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2173 Re: Gertrude

[2]     From:   Geralyn Horton <
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        Date:   Thursday, 31 Oct 2002 18:42:25 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2173 Re: Gertrude


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Claude Caspar <
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Date:           Thursday, 31 Oct 2002 12:45:16 -0500
Subject: 13.2173 Re: Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2173 Re: Gertrude

>BTW the same Updike wrote in his much earlier novel 'Couples' that 'death
>is like getting screwed by God'. Which is one way of getting over sex...

There is a fundamental archaic relationship between sex & death, as
illustrated by many anthropological & cultural studies.  I believe it
was Elizabethan slang to equate orgasm with the phrase, "To die."  The
death here is the loss of consciousness that true orgasms imply, the
root of many mystical experiences. Often, oddly enough, orgasm (or the
effects thereof) accompanies actual demise.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Geralyn Horton <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 31 Oct 2002 18:42:25 -0500
Subject: 13.2173 Re: Gertrude
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.2173 Re: Gertrude

>From:           John Ramsay <
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>>>No playwright knows better
>>>than Howard Barker of the intimate relationship of sex and death, sin
>>>and ecstasy.

>Is this stage offering an adaptation of John Updike's novel 'Claudius
>and Gertrude'?  Seems very similar.

The degree of contempt for contemporary writers displayed here is very
disturbing.  I don't really expect that someone interested in the works
of Shakespeare will necessarily be familiar with every playwright of our
own era; but Howard Barker, if not exactly a household name, is an
English poet, essayist and playwright with a considerable body of
published work and a formidable reputation.  In temperament, politics,
and style he is about as different from the conservative American
novelist Updike as it is possible for two serious literary men of
approximately the same generation to be.

I would expect most SHAKSPERians to have heard, at least, of Barker's
version of "Lear".

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